The Tasting Panel magazine

April 2011

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Page 22 of 124

STEVEN SPURRIER’S LETTER FROM LONDON 2001 Bordeaux T he first thing to be said about the 2001 vintage in Bordeaux is that it suffered coming after the Millennium 2000s. The flowering was a little later and July a little wetter, but August was dry; ripening was aided by long, warm days in September and perfect weather in October meant that there was no rush to complete the harvest. Overall, acidities were a frac- tion higher and tannins a little leaner than in 2000, but this made for classic Bordeaux structure which, at ten years on, was positively elegant. Both Left and Right Banks came out well, with a slight advantage to those châteaux with a high proportion of Merlot. As for Sauternes, the 2001 vintage was not surpassed during the decade. The tasting held at Bordeaux Index’s offices in London offered 19 Right Bank reds, 36 Left Bank reds and 10 Sauternes. Here are my rankings in order of preference within each appellation. Due to space constraints, notes have only been given to the First Growths and their equivalents. Drinking dates are my personal opinion. RIGHT BANK The Pomerols seemed to me better than the Saint-Émilions. Pomerol 18/20 Vieux Ch. Certan (2011-24), Trotanoy (2011-25), L’Eglise-Clinet (2011-21) 17.5 Clos d’Eglise (2011-17), La Conseillante (2011-21) 17 Gazin (2011-22) 16.5 Hosanna (2011-16), La Fleur Pétrus (2011-16) 16 Clinet (2011-14) Saint-Émilion 18 Angelus (2011-22) 17 Tertre-Roteboeuf (2011-18), La Tour Figeac (2011-16) 16.5 Canon La Gaffelière (2011-18), Clos Fourtet (2011-15) 16 Troplong-Mondot (2012-16) 22 / the tasting panel / april 201 1 LEFT BANK The Médoc benefitted from the slow-ripening Cabernet Sauvignon into October, which gave the wines an edge over the Pessac-Léognans, where Cabernets were less successful than the Merlots Pessac-Léognan 17.5 Pape-Clément (2011-16) 17 Haut-Bailly (2011-18) 16.5 Domaine de Chevalier (2011-16) 16 Malartic-Lagravière (2011-15) Margaux 17.5 Rauzan-Ségla (2011-20) 17.5 Palmer (2011-25) 16.5 Brane-Cantenac (2011-16) Saint-Julien 18.5 Léoville-Las Cases (2012-25) 17.5 Léoville-Barton (2012-22) 17 Gruaud-Larose (2011-18) 16.5 Langoa-Barton (2011-16), Lagrange (2011-17), Léoville-Poyferré (2011-15) 16 Branaire-Ducru (2011-15) Pauillac These wines seemed overall a little green, but should round out in their second decade. 17 Pichon-Longueville Baron (2012-2), Les Forts de Latour (2012-22), Lynch-Bages (2011-20), Pontet-Canet (2011-20) 16 Pichon-Longueville-Comtesse (2011-16) , Grand-Puy-Lacoste (2011-15) St-Estèphe Two excellent but very different wines. 18 Montrose (2011-25) 17.5 Cos d’Estournel (2011-18) FIRST GROWTHS AND THEIR EQUIVALENTS 19 Lafite-Rothschild (2011-30) Deep young colour, fragrant bouquet, great length, silky texture; but the structure is there to age superbly. 18.5 Petrus (2011-22) Marvelous natural concentration, quite exotic, vigourous and exciting . 18+ Le Pin (2011-18) Wonderful con- centration of warm fruit; everything in balance and will continue to improve. 18+ Cheval Blanc (2011-21) Fragrant and ripe autumnal fruit; lovely elegance and balance. 18 Latour (2012-28) Young depth, spicy Cabernet fruit; great depth for the future. Mouton-Rothschild (2011-20) Earthy, balsamic, spicy, rich; a very exciting wine. Haut-Brion (2011-22) Attractive fragrance, taffeta texture, great length and harmony. Lafleur (2011-25) Superb concentra- tion of old-vine Merlot; both power and finesse. 17.5 Margaux (2012-25) Deep Cabernet fruit; not yet very expressive, needs time. 17 La Mission Haut Brion (2012-20) Earthy and good structure, but still a touch green. SAUTERNES AND BARSAC FIRST GROWTHS A vintage of great purity and depth, with two decades in front of it. 19.5 Climens (2011-30) Brilliant full gold, perfectly extracted fruit; a very great wine. 19 Yquem (2011-35) Lemony gold; almost discreet for Yquem; terrific depth, beautifully expressive. 18.5 Fargues (honorary First Growth) Full gold, great depth; the pure concentration of top Sauternes. (2011-25) 18 La Tour Blanche (2011-20) Fine gold, polished honeyed bouquet, floral, rich, luscious, long. 18 Coutet (2011-25) Fine gold, lovely purity of expression; classic Coutet. 17 Guiraud (2011-17) Full gold, exotic and rich, more breadth than finesse. 16 Rayne-Vigneau (2011-16) Lemon gold, honeyed, rich and rounded. Lafaurie-Peyraguey, Rieussec and Suduiraut were absent from the tast- ing.

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